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Tax credit issue creates headache for Housing Authority

January 10, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — In 2000 the Calexico Housing Authority signed off on a application with a Los Angeles housing development corporation for tax credits to fund a senior housing project called Victoria Manor.

This month, construction workers will be putting the finishing touches on those senior apartments at the corner of Rancho Frontera Avenue and Highway 98.

A happy ending, right? Well … $400,000 of the $1.2 million pledged to the application by the Housing Authority was to be covered by a loan from the Calexico Redevelopment Agency.

In October 2000, the RDA board rescinded that $400,000 after the authority and the corporation, Beyond Shelter Housing of Los Angeles, failed to immediately secure tax credits from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee.

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Did anyone tell the tax committee that the City Council, seated as the RDA board, rescinded the money?

The then executive director of the Housing Authority, Lupita Rios, said no one from her office contacted the committee.

If someone had, would that have affected the eventual issuance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax credits used to fund months of construction?

No one knew as of this morning.

This week a consultant from Los Angeles who is working with Beyond Shelter on a commission basis asked the City Council to reconsider that October decision and give the money to the Housing Authority.

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva made a motion to that effect. The motion died for a lack of second.

The city's interim economic development director, Ralph Morales, recommended denying the consultant's request.

City Attorney Michael Rood told the consultant, Alexis Gevorgian, "We told you this was our position. You went forward anyway."

Gevorgian, a consultant at a firm in Los Angeles called AMG and Associates, said the RDA board's $400,000 loan was a "permanent source" of financing.

Rood said a contract with Beyond Shelter and the Housing Authority gave the RDA board an out in September 2000. If Gevorgian has proof to back up hic claim he didn't bring it with him Tuesday.

Gevorgian vowed to send proof to Rood of the city's financial responsibility.

"You should do that," Rood told him.

Rood did not receive any correspondence from Gevorgian on Wednesday.

If he does receive some sort of documentation, Rood said he would examine it meticulously and advise the City Council accordingly.

Gevorgian did not return calls to his voice mail.

A woman who said she works with Gevorgian called to confirm he does work for AMG and Associates.

Christina Rojas, the Housing Authority's interim executive director, did not return two messages to her office Wednesday.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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